EAST INDIA CO
Address: 349 York Avenue
Entrees: $12 – $20
If it weren’t for the scent of slowly-simmered curries and fresh buttered naan one might think they’ve walked into an Indian art gallery. Even before entering East India Company, diners are greeted by large statues of the Hindu god Ganesh and two elephants.
Since 1967, the Mehra family has delivered a rich multi-sensory experience steeped in culture. The cavernous eatery features impressive centuries old wood carvings and colourful paintings. Lively music adds a celebratory tone.
Exploring southeast Asia’s exciting cuisine is simple at this legendary buffet. Dozens of entrées, including plenty of plant-based specialties reflecting cultural norms, tease with their heavenly aromas. Efficient servers swiftly remove finished plates, enabling discreet return visits to your heart’s content.
The family’s beguiling veg-centric stews such as navratan korma, channa masala and palak paneer – unknown to western palates when E.I.C opened its doors – are now as addictive as butter chicken.
Longtime fans already familiar with mainstays, are served well venturing beyond the buffet. The often-overlooked menu rewards with exciting flavour combinations that deepen appreciation for Indian cuisine.
Fragrant Bangalore spiced potatoes melt in the mouth, in contrast with the crunch of green peppers and onion. Cumin seeds leave a pleasant nutty aftertaste while dried chilli peppers add a lingering heat. Bright orange-yellow paneer pasanda pops on the table. Submerged in creamy sauce, are slices of housemade cheese that sandwich a thin layer of nuts, raisins and cardamom.
Tender Shabab prawns, swimming in a garlic and ginger laced tomato gravy packs a hint of heat into luscious creamy bites. Cool things down with coconut malabar prawns. Covered in deep golden sauce prawns impart a sweet kick of coconut.
End the meal with chai and dessert. Each fragrantly spiced sip of tea and spoonful of rice pudding transports one to Delhi and is a reminder that East India Company’s elaborate feast for the senses is the superior way to enjoy this sensory laden cuisine.